Chesters Roman Fort stunning bath

Housesteads, Chesters and Vindolanda Roman Fort

This Easter holiday, we decided to go to Hexham to visit Roman Fort of Housesteads, Chesters and Vindolanda. It is very easy to visit these Forts using bus AD122. We use Hexham as our base. And might as well because bus AD122 departs and returns back to Hexham. I would say that in one day you can visit two forts. But if you are really into Hadrians’s wall, you may want to spend one fort for a whole day.

Hadrian's wall UNESCO world heritage
Hadrian’s wall UNESCO world heritage

Day 1 Housesteads Roman Fort

We visited Housesteads as our first destination. The weather was so awful. It is cold and windy. It was 31st of March though, so you may prefer summer to visit this site.

Welcome to Housesteads
Welcome to Housesteads

Housesteads Roman Fort is located on top of the hill. So be ready to hike upside the hill. It can be muddy and slippery, so best to wear appropriate shoes.

Housesteads top on the hill
Housesteads on top of the hill

There is a famous Roman toilet, but due to the wind and gust, I was not able to take the picture!

Housesteads Roman fort
Housesteads Roman fort

There is a little museum in the middle way to the hill where you can watch a video about Roman Housesteads and see their Roman findings.

Housesteads looking down to tribes
Do you see that house down the right? That is the museum!

The museum really help me during the cold day, because I really need a warm place to sit and a warm drink to cope with the weather!

Housesteads windy day
Housesteads during our windy day

Credits to a staff member who gave us a sip of wine to warm us up before we see the Fort!

Housesteads Roman Fort in Northumberland
Housesteads Roman Fort in Northumberland

The view from the top is amazing! I can imagine a Roman soldier can see for miles if the enemies are coming!

Housesteads looking from the top
Housesteads looking from the top

Housesteads is a Roman Auxiliary Fort, meaning that the soldier who guarded the Fort is from the Auxiliary regiment. It is not a Legionary Fort. Auxiliary I think is like an adjacent or additional regiment besides the main one – which is the Legionary.

Housesteads Roman Auxiliary Fort
Housesteads Roman Auxiliary Fort

Unlike the Legionary soldier, the auxiliary soldier is not a Roman citizen, and can be given a Roman citizen after 25 years of service. Wow even in Roman times, there are immigration and citizenship privilege to the soldiers who serve the Empire! Strangely enough this immigration and citizenship differences has already existed 2000 years ago!

Housesteads
Housesteads is guarded by auxiliary soldiers

Well, I am confused of the picture below, it maybe a Roman Toilet, or it maybe a Principia (Headquarter).

Housesteads on the hill
I am not sure if that is a Roman toilet or a Principia (sorry forgot to take note).

My husband told me that the auxiliary soldiers in Houseteads Fort are from the first cohort of Tungrians which is a tribe that located in Belgium. They are infantry soldiers which using foot on their combat.

Housesteads Hadrian wall
Housesteads on the Hadrian wall

The picture below shows the Headquarter place or the heart of the fort.

Housesteads Heart of Fort
Housesteads Heart of Fort

And here are some (I believe) soldier barracks.

Housesteads barrack
Housesteads barracks

I am not quite sure how many individuals live in one barrack. But from the picture above, you can see that the space is very small. Do they use double-deck bed?

Housesteads Barracks
Housesteads Barracks

As you can see from the picture below, originally there was a marvellous gate as the entrance to the Fort.

Housesteads entrance to fort
Housesteads entrance to fort

If I am not mistaken, Hadrian’s wall are not only existed in North England, but also in Europe and North Africa. So Emperor Hadrian clearly instructed to build frontier walls throughout the Empire.

Housesteads
Information at the entrance to Housesteads

Day 2 Chesters and Vindolanda Roman Fort

On the day 2, we decided to visit two Roman Forts. We purchade a Day ticket on bus AD122 to visit both Forts.

Chesters Roman Fort

Around 25 minutes bus ride from Hexham, there is the Chesters Roman Fort.

Welcome to Chesters Roman Fort
Welcome to Chesters Roman Fort
Chesters Roman Fort part of English Heritage
Chesters Roman Fort part of English Heritage

I am so glad that the weather is a little bit improved on this day.

Chesters Roman Fort on a sunny day
Chesters Roman Fort on a sunny day

At first, we decided to visit the Clayton museum. John Clayton is the person who preserved much of the Chesters Fort during Victorian time. He is a keen collector and his collections are on display at his museum.

Chesters Roman Museum
Chesters Clayton Museum

Clayton I think is having a huge interest into this Fort and into Roman antiquities. In his museum, we can see a network of people who support him, including some that had identifying and cataloguing the objects.

Chesters Museum
Some of Clayton findings

We opted for a free guided tour provided by the English Heritage. We were so impressed by the knowledge of the Tour Guide. He knows everything about Chesters Fort and about Hadrian Walls. The tour took about 1.5 hours and we saw almost every single bit of the Fort.

Chesters Walking Tour
Chesters Walking Tour
Impressive Chesters Roman Fort
Impressive Chesters Roman Fort
Chesters on a walking tour
On a walking tour

I think some parts of the Fort are located outside the Hadrians Wall and some of the Fort are inside the Wall.

Chesters Roman Fort outside Hadrians Wall
Chesters Roman Fort outside Hadrians Wall

The auxiliary soldiers in the Chesters Fort are from Spain. They are (probably) the ninth cohort of the Asturians. Asturians are the cavalry soldiers that ride horses.

Chesters Roman Fort probably for hot water
Chesters Roman Fort probably for hot water
Chesters Roman Fort Northumberland
Chesters Roman Fort in Northumberland

The picture below shows a Roman ditch, probably to flow hot water (?).

Chesters Roman Fort ditch for hot water
Chesters Roman Fort ditch for hot water
Chesters Roman Fort
Chesters Roman Fort – I think you can also see the Hadrian Wall from the Fort
Chesters Roman Fort on a dash on a sunChesters Roman Fort on a dash on a sun
Chesters Roman Fort on a dash on a sun

There is a well preserved Roman bath at the Chesters Fort.

Chesters Roman Fort stunning bath
Stunning Roman bath at Chesters Fort
Chesters Roman Fort Bath
Chesters Fort’s Roman Bath

I can imagine how beautiful it is having a bath with the view of the river! Well done Romans!

Chesters Roman Fort Impressive Bath
Chesters Roman Fort impressive bath

When going to see the bath, we saw this lovely Northumberland countryside scenery.

Chesters Roman Fort Scenic View
Chesters Roman Fort Scenic View

The picture below shows the private house of the Commander.

Chesters Commandant's house
Chesters Commandant’s house
Chesters Roman Fort beautiful countryside
Chesters Roman Fort beautiful countryside view
Chesters Roman Fort scenery
Chesters Roman Fort scenery

Don’t forget using a One Day AD122 Bus ticket, you can continue your travel to another Fort.

Bus AD122
Bus AD122 One Day ticket

Vindolanda Roman Fort

About 30 minutes from Chesters Roman Fort, we use the bus AD122 to go to Vindolanda Roman Fort.

Vindolanda a walk to the Fort Gate
Vindolanda – a walk to the Fort Gate

It is quite a big complex and you will need a lot of walking.

Vindolanda Roman Fort
Vindolanda Roman Fort

The Vindolanda Fort is quite impressive. You can see the military settlement as well as a small ‘Vicus’ local settlement.

Vindolanda Barracks
Vindolanda Barracks

The picture below shows Principia or the Headquarter building – the most important building in the entire Fort.

Vindolanda Principia
Vindolanda Principia

The auxiliary soldiers at Vindolanda Fort are formerly the ninth cohort of Batavians. They are from the Netherlands (Holland) area and they are partly cavalry (soldiers with horses). On a later date, Vindolanda Fort is being filled by the fourth cohort of Gauls (French area).

Vindolanda Headquarter's building
Vindolanda Headquarter’s building

There are continuous excavations going on in Vindolanda.

Vindolanda Excavation
Vindolanda Excavations

There is a Roman Temple too!

Vindolanda Roman Temple
Roman Temple at Vindolanda

The Fort ruins are quite extensive!

Vindolanda Roman Fort Roman Ruins
Vindolanda Roman Fort Roman Ruins

I have seen a stone – which I believe is a Roman stone! It is so colourful! Perhaps it is part of a building wall?

Vindolanda Roman Stone
Vindolanda Roman Stone

There is also a Roman Pub! It says that it is a Tavern.

Vindolanda Roman Pub
Roman Pub at Vindolanda
Vindolanda Roman Fort Roman Buildings
Vindolanda Roman Fort Roman Buildings

Below is the private house of the Commander/Prefect.

Vindolanda Prefect's House
Vindolanda Prefect’s House

There is an impressive Museum too at Vindolanda.

Vindolanda Chesterholm Museum
Vindolanda Chesterholm Museum

The most famous treasure from Vindolanda is the Vindolanda Tablets. The tablet shows an early hand-writing evidence available in Britain history. Some of the tablets are written by women too (I think the correspondence between Prefect wife’s to another Prefect’s wife). These are so important making them the early evidence of women’s writing in Britain.

Vindolanda Tablets
Vindolanda Tablets

Some of the writing are in informal words and it is interesting to see the everyday lives of people living within the Fort.

Vindolanda Tablets information
Vindolanda Tablets

One of the Tablets also show the strength of the army. It is an important piece of evidence regarding the military strength at the Vindolanda Fort.

Vindolanda Tablet of army
Vindolanda Tablet of army

Nice excample of Roman gold found in Vindolanda.

Vindolanda Roman Gold
Vindolanda Roman Gold – Copyrights The Vindolanda Museum

They also found some intaglios!

Vindolanda Roman intaglios
Vindolanda Roman intaglios

Interesting Roman combs! Amazing to see people already use combs since 2000 years ago! And the combs shape haven’t been changed much!

Vindolanda Roman Combs
Vindolanda Roman Combs

There is a lovely Cafe too, you you can get your lunch and snack there! It is good to re-charge your energy before walking around the Fort!

Vindolanda Cafe
Vindolanda Cafe

There is a reconstruction building of the Fort (I think in real scale) which is amazing!

Vindolanda where the Fort is
Vindolanda where the Fort is
Vindolanda and its scenery
Vindolanda and its scenery

It was a lovely trip to see these Roman Fort at the Hadrian’s Wall. I can’t believe there are so many Forts all along the Wall! The Romans are so obsessed building its frontier defence!

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